Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Guest Blog and Giveaway A Time Apart by Rebecca N. Caudill

Creating the Cover for A Time Apart: Book One of the Macauley Series

I’m definitely guilty of judging a book by its cover and because I know just enough about Photoshop to be dangerous, I set about designing a cover for my book that I could be proud of.  

I went through several ideations that started with a castle as the main imagery – after all, Macauley Castle plays a central role in my novel, as much so as some of the characters. At first I was really happy with what I had created but then I started to feel like it wasn't setting the right tone. All the photos I had at my disposal were of a castle during the day, surrounded by verdant fields of green. As readers of my book know, very quickly the action shifts to night, which made a daytime photo wrong on at least one very crucial level.

After scouring several stock photography sites I was nearly ready to give up and just go with a generic cover that I could purchase for $40 but then I stumbled on it – a series of photos of a red headed woman who looked a lot like I had pictured Olivia. I looked through the set and realized that with some time in Photoshop I could take those them and edit them such that they evoked the darker tone that I was going for.

When the reader is first introduced to Olivia, she's living in this sort of in-between state. She's of the living, but she hasn't been living; rather, the death of her parents has triggered a set back in her emotional stability and now she's pretty much obsessed with death. Everywhere she goes, everyone she meets, she wonders how s/he will die and she most often wonders how SHE will die. I liked the misty white gradient as it rises up to meet her face – in full, bright color – as it gives the sense of someone who's fading. On the opposite side is a dark, web-like texture peeking out of the shadows that hints at something sinister.

One of the things that I really like about this cover is that it isn't the typical black that you find with most paranormal romance novels. Of course, going this route could bite me in the arse, but I enjoy that what I’ve created isn't the norm for the genre, that it stands apart from the rest, that it establishes Olivia as the hero of my story and not my male protagonist. Then again, I’m sure a picture of William’s bare chest would have helped sell more copies. J

A Time Apart
Macauley Series
Book One
Rebecca N. Caudill

Genre: Paranormal Romance , Vampire

Date of Publication: February 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-1508482666

Number of pages: 211 (estimated)
Word Count: 71,020

Cover Artist: Rebecca N. Caudill

Book Description:

A love story that traverses the confines of time, life, and death, uniting two passionate souls from different worlds and ages …

Olivia Donnelly has spent her whole life obsessing about how she will die. When tragedy strikes, reality comes crashing down and she’s forced to confront her fears head on. Hoping that a move across the globe will help her to cope with a devastating loss, she arrives in Ireland a broken down shell of a woman looking for a second chance at life.

Almost immediately Olivia is drawn to places she’s never been, and to a man that she’s never met. When she crosses paths with the mysterious and frustratingly private William Macauley, her life is thrown into turmoil unlike any she has ever known. The two couldn’t be more different – she’s human, he’s a vampire – but Olivia can’t get him out of her mind. Having acknowledged her overwhelming desire for William, now she must come to terms with how her feelings for him will greatly alter her future.

Olivia’s understanding of life – and death – take on new meaning as she examines the truth of the person she once was, the woman she was born to be, and how William is the key to her everlasting happiness.

Available at Amazon
Excerpt from Chapter 6

“Olivia,” he whispered, and then he too went silent, that one word all he was going to give her. 
Except it wasn’t all.
The way he had said her name did things to Olivia that she couldn’t adequately explain. To her ears, he had said it the way a man says a woman’s name as he’s about to make love to her for the first time, full of longing and desire. 
It felt like several minutes had passed since he had spoken her name, but in reality it had been less than 15 seconds. Olivia wasn’t worried about him hanging up the phone because she knew he could hear her breathing in response to his voice. Given how furiously she felt her heart beating, she thought he could probably hear it too as it was so terrifyingly loud. She certainly heard the thump, thump, thump of it echoing in her own ears.
“William,” she eventually responded, trying to keep her voice cold and emotionless, hoping that her desire for him wasn’t evident in that one single word. She wouldn’t say more, not yet. 
Olivia wanted to make him tell her why he was calling. She wouldn’t ask. She wouldn’t show how much she actually cared what he thought of her; unfortunately her hitched breathing gave her away. If he hadn’t known it before, William certainly knew that his voice – his words – had power over her.
“I had to call you. I don’t know why, I just felt compelled to. I didn’t want to continue conversing with you in one to two sentence fragments over email. While convenient, I find it so impersonal,” he said. 
Impersonal? So he was looking for some sort of personal connection with her? No, she wouldn’t read too much into his words.
When he realized that she wasn’t going to say anything back, he went on. “I know you don’t care one way or the other, but you are absolutely intriguing to me. A conundrum really. You see, for as much research as you’ve obviously done on me, I’ve probably done more on you. After all, you’re rather easy to find online.” 
Olivia hadn’t seen that one coming. 
Go on, she wanted to say, curious to know exactly what he found so intriguing about her, but her voice wouldn’t work.
When she failed to speak for several more seconds, he finally broke the silence, the tone of his voice going from interested to terse and ... rejected? 
“I can see you’re not going to speak to me. Perhaps I’m wasting my time. I’m sorry to have disturbed you.”
Before he could hang up and Olivia would lose the moment with him forever, she took a deep breath and found both her voice and her courage.
“I’m sorry, I’m just a bit shocked that you’ve called is all. I’m trying to figure out what you’re about,” she told him as matter-of-factly as she could. “We’ve hardly been what I would call cordial to one another since we spoke earlier tonight so I’m wondering why you want a more … personal … mode of communication. Hell, I’m wondering why you want any more communication, period.  You made it pretty clear that you aren’t interested in what I have to say, so I’m not sure what else there is to say.” 
Olivia could hear the hurt in her voice, and in addition to feeling embarrassed over her uncanny physical reaction to him, she also felt ashamed. Unfortunately, he seemed to pick up on both emotions.
“My apologies if I have … hurt … you.  It was ridiculous of me to have been so rude. Perhaps if you would allow me to explain myself, you might begin to understand why my initial reaction to you was so discourteous,” he said. 
Okay, Olivia thought, start explaining
She couldn’t have prepared herself for what he said next. 
“I know it’s late, but can I see you?  I’d like to speak to you in person.” 
Oh shit. Oh shit.
Oh ... SHIT.
“It is late,” she replied, leaving the statement hanging between them for him to interpret. 
She didn’t want him to think that she wasn’t interested in meeting him, but at the same time she also didn’t want him thinking he could call her up at midnight and that she’d be at his beck and call. While Olivia had had her fair share of romantic entanglements throughout the years, she’d never been someone’s booty call.
But damn if her curiosity wasn’t getting the best of her. Olivia internally calculated what it would take to make herself look presentable before meeting him – wherever he was. She figured that she didn’t have time to redo her make-up but she could easily throw her sweater and jeans back on, pull her hair up into a bun, and be in a cab on her way in just under 15 minutes.
And then, as if she couldn’t be any more shocked than she already was, his next words stopped her in her tracks.
“I’m in your hotel lobby, if that changes anything.”

It changed a lot of things. 

About the Author:

Rebecca Caudill read her first novel when she was just four years old and has been hooked on books ever since. When she wasn't writing her own stories, she was sneaking copies of her mom's paperbacks to read late into the night.

Fast forward several years later and Rebecca graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in English Lit, which gave her new insight into the written word. Following college, Rebecca embarked on a career in tech PR in the famed Silicon Valley, which eventually led to her leading Global R&D communications for a Fortune 500 company that everyone knows by name. Finally, after more than a decade of writing words ascribed to other people, in December 2014 she quit her job to pursue writing full time.

Today Rebecca lives with her husband and beautiful-but-neurotic cat in Oakland, California. When not creating fictional worlds inhabited by strong women, rakes, rogues, and dashing heroes, she is planning her next vacation, trying out new recipes, or drinking Islay scotch.

Twitter - @rebecca_caudill

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Carol L. said...

I really enjoyed the excerpt. This sounds like a book I'm really going bto enjoy and I've only read the excerpt. :) Thanks for the post and giveaway opportunity.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

katieoscarlet said...

I always enjoy reading the author bios. She has quite a resume very impressive. Also, my cats are beautiful and neurotic as well.

Debbie Snell said...

I love the excerpt and looking forward to resding it

Judy Thomas said...

I love cats myself :) Love the cover of this book!

LesleyfromWI said...

Can't wait to read

Darah Faye Valledor said...

Nice author bio. :D Can't wait to read.